Location characteristics of inner-city neighborhoods and employment accessibility of low-wage workers
Studies that examine spatial characteristics of urban unemployment are often based on some simplistic measures of employment accessibility. In this paper a refined methodological framework for measuring accessibility is presented, which enables the researcher (1) to improve the measurement by accounting for job competition among workers commuting by different modes, and (2) to understand the outcome more thoroughly by distinguishing the effect of location from that of workers' auto ownership. This refined framework is applied to a case study of employment accessibility of low-wage workers living in Boston's inner-city neighborhoods, with primarily 1990 Census demographic and journey-to-work data. The empirical results show clearly that, although the central location of inner-city residence still gives the low-wage workers some advantage, auto ownership is the more important determinant. Low-wage workers living in inner-city neighborhoods on average do not have high employment accessibility because a large percentage of them do not own any motor vehicle and hence have limited spatial mobility. Implications of the findings are discussed and qualified in light of the limitation of the research.